06/09/09 6:58 PM ET
Litsch to undergo Tommy John surgery
After complaining of soreness, starter to have procedure
By Todd Wills / Special to MLB.com
Manager Cito Gaston said Tuesday that right-hander Jesse Litsch will have Tommy John ligament replacement surgery Friday.
Litsch, who won 13 games last year, will become the second starter from last year's rotation to undergo the procedure. Shaun Marcum, who was 9-7 last year, had the operation on his elbow last September and is still progressing in his rehab.
Litsch, who has been rehabbing at the Jays' training facility in Florida, had been complaining recently about some intermittent soreness in his right elbow, which he injured April 13. He had a second visit with renowned arm specialist Dr. James Andrews last week at the surgeon's office in Pensacola, Fla. Each time an MRI was performed on Litsch's throwing elbow, however, it revealed no ligament damage.
Dr. Andrews instructed Litsch to resume throwing and see what happened. Now Litsch is having the procedure, which will be performed by Andrews. The Jays finalized things Monday.
"We need to go fix it," Gaston said.
Litsch, 24, entered the season as the Blue Jays' No. 2 starter, as he was pushed up the depth chart after the losses of Marcum (right elbow) and Dustin McGowan (right shoulder) to injury and A.J. Burnett's departure to the Yankees in free agency. Last year, in his second season with Toronto, Litsch sported a 3.58 ERA over 29 games.
On April 13, Litsch pulled himself out of a start on the road against the Twins after throwing 50 pitches over just three innings. In his two outings this year, the right-hander had allowed nine runs on 14 hits over nine innings. After Litsch was placed on the DL on April 14, the Jays decided to move left-hander Brian Tallet out of the bullpen and into the rotation.
Overall this year, the Jays have used 10 different starting pitchers, including four rookies and Tallet, who got the start Tuesday night against the Rangers. Despite that level of inexperience and the loss of Litsch, Toronto's starting rotation entered Tuesday with a 4.32 ERA -- the sixth-best mark in the American League.
Gaston said Tuesday that McGowan is doing fine. McGowan has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 5.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.